Sometimes our greatest disappointments are God's appointments to be a blessing in someone else's life. I discovered this to be so true when I met Sarah L. Johnson on a Monday morning, late August, 2005 at the Boots Ward Community Center minutes from our home. A Red Cross Shelter had been set up there and my shift was 6:00-10:00 a.m. Sarah was a New Orleans native, 85 years old, never married and she was here in my community! Funny, she said she had always wanted to visit Atlanta, but didn't realize she would come like this. The story of how she got there is a story in and of itself. After the initial evacuation, though there was a power outage, Sarah and her fellow residents were returned to their apartments. When she heard banging on her door, she glanced out the window only to see water rushing into the streets and rising rapidly. We now know that the levies had broken down, but at that time, the residents had no idea what the rushing water was from. They were hurried to the roof of the building where they stayed overnight until a helicopter could pluck each one of them off the roof.
When boarding the helicopter, in all the confusion, this 85 year old woman lost her walker, her glasses, her shoes, and worst of all she was separated from a friend that was holding all of her IDs for her.
When I first met Sarah, she was just waking up in the Red Cross Shelter. I helped Sarah with her laundry, got her breakfast and she talked with me about her strong faith in God and how surely God had a plan for her even in this crazy situation. At the end of my shift, I gave her a hug, thinking I'd never see her again this side of heaven. A few days later, I received a phone call from a friend that had worked at the same shelter telling me that Sarah needed to see a Cardiologist and could I help her to get in to see someone. I had the blessing of taking her to a doctor the very next day. Her heart was just fine and this was the beginning of a sweet friendship, one that I will forever cherish. After four weeks at the shelter, Sarah was moved to a wonderful nearby assisted living facility where she was embraced by the other residents. She came to our church and even gathered at my sister's home for a huge family lunch! She shared her heart with me and told me why PSALM 27 was her mainstay scripture. Mama and I took her to the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta and she shared her memories of the Civil Rights Movement.
Later, Sarah was happily returned to New Orleans to her same first floor apartment.
I believe that God gave me this opportunity to serve and help Sarah during a time when my heart was broken over the loss of my young friend, Jil.
So if you are going through a great disappointment today, look around for the appointment that may be waiting around the corner for you to be a blessing to someone today.